Use Financial Facts With Budget Moves
I attended the Town Hall Meeting sponsored by Commissioners Bunting and Bertino concerning the Worcester County fiscal situation. The meeting was well-attended and Chief Administrative Officer Harold Higgins gave an informative presentation.
I left with the distinct feeling that “I’ve seen this play before.”
We have a serious budget problem in Worcester County – 2016 budget requests from County Departments exceed expected revenues by $22,000,000.00. Of course, the largest elephant in the room is the Board of Education, which is requesting $4,000,000 more than last year, and whose budget request of $93,000,000 is higher by $12,000,000 than its actual budget for 2013. That’s a 12% increase in four years, if I have my math right (of course, I didn’t have the advantage of Common Core math).
It is apparent to me that a tax increase will be required. The questions are how high the property tax will go, and whether or not to increase the piggy back tax.
The comments from teachers and others in support of the BOE budget request seem to have been recycled from the 2013 budget hearing. It really troubles me that apparently there is a strong belief that more and more money is the answer. I know that teachers have a difficult, demanding job, and I agree wholeheartedly that most of them deserve a raise. But I know lots of people who deserve raises and haven’t had one in years and won’t be receiving one anytime soon. Thousands of Worcester County residents are working hard and barely getting by, robbing Peter to pay Paul and juggling bills. These people cannot afford a tax increase – it’s just simply not in their budgets.
At one point, Commissioner Bertino asked for a show of hands for those in favor of a tax increase. Approximately one half of those present raised their hands. My thought was, “Well, I’m glad you can afford it, but what about those who can’t?”
Hard decisions must be made, and I commend Commissioners Bunting and Bertino for being proactive and encouraging citizens to get involved and ask questions. These decisions must be made based on financial facts, not feelings.
The County Budget Hearing is scheduled for May 5 at 7 p.m. at Snow Hill Middle School. I urge all tax payers in Worcester County to attend and make your voices heard.
Komen Race A Success
Ocean City, you have made a difference in the lives of those affected by breast cancer, and you sure know how to have a good time while doing it.
On Sunday, April 19, the Inlet was flooded by a sea pink as thousands of volunteers, breast cancer survivors, co-survivors, sponsors and supporters championed our mission of saving lives and ending breast cancer forever at the 4th Annual Susan G. Komen Maryland Ocean City Race for the Cure. We were blown away by the energy and enthusiasm during our weekend activities leading up to the Race – Friday and Saturday’s Walk-Up Registration at the Carousel, Friday night’s Concert for the Cure at Seacrets, Saturday’s Planet Maze event and Saturday’s Skate for the Cure at the Carousel.
We’d like to say “thank you” to everyone who helped make this event such a success. Thank you to all of our top-level sponsors — the Town of Ocean City, WBOC 16, Fidelity Power Systems, Seacrets and the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce. Without our sponsors, the Race would not have been possible.
Thank you to our “Paint the Town Pink” business participants, Long & Foster, Brass Balls Saloon and Vintage Resort Realty, for putting their creativity on display to demonstrate their support for Komen Maryland’s mission. After much deliberation, we would like to say “Congratulations” to our winner, Long & Foster, who has been a supporter of ours for the past four years. As a thank you for their participation, they will receive a week-long digital billboard advertisement from Seaboard Media that moves up and down the Maryland coast.
And finally, thank you to our 2,171 registered runners and walkers in the race and their supporters who helped raise more than $200,000, as of April 20. Donations are still coming in, and our website will remain open for contributions for the next month.
These contributions will fund local organizations that provide screening, treatment and survivor support to the people who need it most. In 2015 Komen Maryland awarded $1,080,294 to 17 grant programs across the state. As a part of this total amount, $348,200 was awarded to six grant programs specifically serving the Eastern Shore region.
In addition, Komen Maryland provided more than $460,000 to transformative research on the national level. Since 1982, Susan G. Komen has funded more than $800 million in research resulting in groundbreaking discoveries that directly impact treatment. Komen is the largest funder of breast cancer research outside of the federal government and has played a role in every major advance in the fight against breast cancer.
As a resident of West Ocean City, I am so proud of this community and the role you played this weekend in supporting or mission. It is because of all of you that we are able to do what we do – thank you.
(The writer is the Komen Maryland Ocean City Race Manager.)
Extra Bucks Helps Who?
I read the letter to the editor about the movie Four Blood Moons.
I went to the Sun and Surf theater on Thursday, April 9.
The theater was easily two-thirds full.
I was charged $12.50 for a ticket. The cash register rang up $7.50.
Who benefits from the extra $5 per ticket?
Mary A. LeMay
In celebration of National Volunteer Week earlier this month, I am writing to recognize the residents of our community whose lives have been enriched through the feeling that comes from helping others. I encourage you to find a worthy cause with which to volunteer.
I give my time to the American Cancer Society because cancer has touched everyone in some way, including my family. To help others in their fight against cancer is truly humbling.
Volunteers have been the backbone of the American Cancer Society since its founding over 100 years ago. They continue to provide the crusading spirit the Society has needed to champion the fight against this terrible disease.
Each of our volunteers has given time that is both meaningful and close to their heart. Thank you to local volunteers for their participation in our many programs such as Road To Recovery®; events like Relay For Life®; as dedicated members of community advocacy teams; or even helping in a local office to stuff envelopes.
Because of the passion and commitment of these volunteers, the American Cancer Society can continue to save lives by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back against cancer.
(The writer is a member of the American Cancer Society’s South Atlantic Division Board of Directors.)